About Us

Our Story

O2 Initiatives creates space for dedicated nonprofit leaders to take an essential break for rest, renewal, and reimagining the future of their organizations.

The idea for the O2 Sabbatical Award originated after meeting Carrie Avery, President of The Durfee Foundation, and learning about their longtime sabbatical program in Los Angeles. We were inspired by the transformative impact the Durfee Sabbatical program has had on the professional and personal lives of LA executive directors, and we immediately began dreaming of bringing a similar program to the Bay Area. The O2 Sabbatical Award officially launched in 2014.

O2 Commitment to Equity

Nonprofit executive directors face monumental tasks that can lead to burnout—serving as leaders on the frontlines of their communities while relentlessly fundraising to secure the financial viability of their organizations. For leaders who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), these demands are exacerbated by multigenerational trauma and racist systems that expect deep community needs to be addressed with inadequate resources, compensation, and mental health support. 

O2 is committed to advancing race equity by investing in changemakers that are representative of the rich identities and communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2022, we are investing additional resources to cultivate the most diverse applicant pool possible by increasing outreach to executive directors who identify as BIPOC. Our alumni are trusted partners in awardee selection, mentorship, peer-to-peer engagement, and the strategic direction of the program.

About Our Name

O2 refers to the two bonded atoms that form the oxygen molecules we breathe. Like a molecule, the bonds and partnerships we form with one another and our communities are greater than the sum of its parts.

We are committed to fueling the success of nonprofits by building a stronger and more sustainable sector.

The O2 Initiatives Team

CO-INITIATORS

Co-Initiators Lynn Feintech and Sakurako Fisher have a deep history of engagement in the nonprofit sector. Initially working as volunteers, they now play leading roles on numerous Bay Area and national boards. Lynn and Sakurako share a passion for partnership—both in their own philanthropy and connecting networks of nonprofit leaders.

STAFF

Emily Cohen Raskin, Executive Director
Emily directs the O2 Sabbatical Award program and is Senior Director at Hirsch Philanthropy Partners, an advisory firm that works with individuals, families, and foundations to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. Emily’s passion for sabbaticals began while serving on the interim leadership team at the Jamestown Community Center during the Executive Director’s sabbatical.

Allison Domicone, Program Officer

Karen Lengler, Program Associate

SELECTION COMMITTEE

To be announced

“My O2 Sabbatical not only enriched me personally, it created space for our organization to explore distributed leadership models that were more sustainable and effective at achieving our mission. We’ve found that shared leadership is truly an anchor of equity.”

VILLY WANG (2019 AWARDEE)
FOUNDER, PRESIDENT & CEO, BAYCAT